Thank You

Thank you to the seventy-year-old man who went back to school to get his GED. And his forty-six-year-old daughter, who tutored him.

Thank you. That is the​ purpose of this column. I want to say “thanks.” I don’t know you, but I believe in the good you do.

In public, I see you sometimes and think to myself: “I wish someone would thank them.” But I never do because if I did, you’d think I was a complete nut job.

Maybe I am a nut job. But I’m allowed to be that way. After all, I am a columnist—sort of—and that means I am missing some crayons.

Long ago, I used to deliver newspapers with my mother. We used to deliver to a fella who would answer the door in pajamas. He had messy hair and a bushy white beard. He always gave me a five-dollar tip.

He was generous. If he wasn’t home one day, he would pay me ten bucks the next day. He was a columnist, my mother told me. And that’s why he was such a weirdo in weird pajamas. Even his house smelled weird.

I suppose I ought to thank him while I am at it.

Also, thanks to the man I saw in the gas station who bought a lottery scratch-off ticket. Who won thirty bucks, then turned around and gave the cash to a woman behind him in line. What a guy.

The woman thanked him in a language that sounded like Russian, but he didn’t seem to understand, so he answered: “Alright.”

Thank you, Cindy—the woman who translated one of my speeches in American Sign Language for the front row​. She told me I talked very fast and now she has problems with her rotator cuff.

She also taught me how to cuss in sign language.

Thank you to the seventy-year-old man who went back to school to get his GED. And his forty-six-year-old daughter, who tutored him.

And you. You deserve thanks, but you don’t always get it. In fact, you rarely even get a nod.

That’s a shame. You deserve the same tiara they put on Miss America. You deserve something huge like a mid-size SUV, or pony named Silver, or an RV with slide-outs, or a big plate of spaghetti with garlic bread.

You deserve money, fame, and material things. But then, you would never accept them. I know how you are.

Everything you do is outside the spotlight, and I don’t want to screw that up for you. That’s why I am not going to use your name—except Cindy. I already used Cindy’s name, and I can’t take that back now.

You deserve a helping of gratitude. Why, if I had a million dollars, I would give it all to you. Every penny. I wouldn’t keep a dime for myself.

Certainly, I might use some to buy season tickets to the Atlanta Braves, but that would be it. Also a monster truck. But then you would get the rest.

I would give it to the man I saw in Cracker Barrel. He only had the use of his right hand. He piloted his motorized wheelchair through the full dining room, and his children stayed near him.

His oldest daughter fed him with a spoon. She dabbed his chin with a napkin. They all laughed, they messed around. They were beautiful.

That family deserves a million bucks.

So does the woman who raised me on hard circumstances, hard work, and tossing newspapers on cold mornings.

So does the man with the speech impediment who works for the cable company. The man has every right NOT to be in customer service, but he has chosen to overcome his obstacle.

Your waiter. Your supermarket clerk. Your teacher. Your janitor. The average fella who waits in line at a gas station to buy a scratch-off ticket but doesn’t want the winnings.

Long ago, a man once handed me five bucks while I stood on his porch, delivering his newspaper. It happened to be my birthday that day.

He said: “Are you having a good day, son?”

“Yessir,” I said. “It’s a great day today, it’s my birthday.”

His face lit up. The nutty man looked like he was going to burst. He told me to wait on the porch. He darted away then reappeared with a tiny wooden box. He gave it to me.

In the box was a pen. I don’t know if it was expensive or not, and I don’t care. To me, it was worth more than a million bucks.

“Thank you for all that you do,” the columnist said to me.

And now this columnist is saying it to you.

53 comments

  1. Cathy Cooke - March 19, 2019 6:51 am

    Thank you, Sean, for bringing some rays of light and sunshine into my world today. It’s the middle of the night and I can’t sleep because of a great sadness with a friend. Your column reminds me that there is always something, and someone, for which to be thankful. I needed this.

    Reply
  2. Jean - March 19, 2019 9:50 am

    Morning Sean…. You brighten my day every day. One thing that comes from your writings is you are a great guy. Thank you Sean!

    Reply
  3. MJ - March 19, 2019 10:32 am

    Thank you. Keep up your sweet messages.

    Reply
  4. Cathi - March 19, 2019 10:58 am

    Sean, you always manage to put the perfect button on my day. Thank you!

    Reply
  5. Mary E Smith - March 19, 2019 11:04 am

    Sean, “THANK YOU!”! Every time I read the things you write about, you touch my heart. My life is richer because of you. May God bless you always.

    Reply
  6. Joyce Mullikin - March 19, 2019 11:05 am

    Thank you for starting my day.

    Reply
  7. Brenda Hill - March 19, 2019 11:14 am

    Thank you for acknowledging the good in people! I’m thankful that I look forward to your email every day and you don’t disappoint!

    Brenda

    Reply
  8. Marilyn - March 19, 2019 11:31 am

    Just, “Thank You!”

    Reply
  9. RobinGeorge - March 19, 2019 11:43 am

    I look forward to your wise, kind, funny, and uplifting words in my mailbox every day.
    You’re a great ‘delivery boy’ and wish I could tip you!
    Thank YOU Sean.

    Robin George

    Reply
  10. Laurie Ann Wasilewski - March 19, 2019 11:44 am

    The thanks belong to you , Sean, for your talent and the way you share it with all of us each day!!! You are wonderful and gifted!

    Reply
  11. Terri - March 19, 2019 11:44 am

    Thank You!

    Reply
  12. Nell Thomas - March 19, 2019 11:51 am

    Thank you.

    Reply
  13. Terri C Boykin - March 19, 2019 11:55 am

    Thank you Sean, love you much!

    Reply
  14. Jess in Athens, GA - March 19, 2019 11:56 am

    I think it’s wonderful that you have managed to thank just about everyone for one thing or another. Let me thank you for being such a warm and gracious writer. Your words make so many people happy on a daily basis. Thank you, Sean, you’re a special friend to all of us. Have a wonderful day on us.

    Reply
  15. Karen - March 19, 2019 12:43 pm

    Jess said it perfectly. Thank you.

    Reply
  16. Candy Clark - March 19, 2019 12:49 pm

    THANK YOU Sean Dietrich!! May you be as Blessed as all the lives you have touched! Love

    Reply
  17. Peggy Savage - March 19, 2019 12:52 pm

    Have a beautiful day….and thank you for sharing your love….

    Reply
  18. Judy - March 19, 2019 12:55 pm

    For real…thank you, Sean.

    Reply
  19. Connie Havard Ryland - March 19, 2019 12:59 pm

    And thank you for all that you do. For the love you spread with every word. For the smiles, tears and sometimes laugh out loud moments you give us. Love and hugs to you and Jamie.

    Reply
  20. Steve Winfield - March 19, 2019 12:59 pm

    Do you still have the pen? Love you. Steve

    Reply
  21. Donald Watts - March 19, 2019 1:04 pm

    Sean,
    Just wanted to say, loved today’s story entitled, “Thank you.” It really hits the spot for me, if you know what I mean–and I’m sure you do.
    I will start my day shortly and no doubt will be thanking someone I see just because I should and you inspire me.
    Keep it coming…
    Don

    Reply
  22. Becca - March 19, 2019 1:29 pm

    Thank you for giving your Million Dollar Heart, it does much more good than a Million Dollars Cash for most folks, Sean!

    Reply
  23. Harvey Roberts - March 19, 2019 1:34 pm

    Good job. Thank you.

    Reply
  24. Barbara Fleming - March 19, 2019 2:16 pm

    Thank You

    Reply
  25. Carol - March 19, 2019 2:30 pm

    Thank you !!
    For the laughs, the tears , and just sometimes making me stop and smell the roses !
    Life can be hard and cruel , but with faith , trust in the Lord and people like you it’s worth another day and I’m so glad I get to start it with you and my Lord !
    Love ya!

    Reply
  26. Edna B. - March 19, 2019 2:36 pm

    Thank you, too. I love your stories. Today I’m catchng up the last few postings. I’ve been away from my laptop and missed reading your post in the morning. You are a ray of sunshine here, so thank you. You have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

    Reply
  27. Alice - March 19, 2019 3:19 pm

    Dear Sean this brought tears to my eyes thank you for writing all these wonderful stories thank you for being you God bless you love ❤️

    Reply
  28. Linda Moon - March 19, 2019 3:27 pm

    THANKS.

    Reply
  29. Marilyn Cook - March 19, 2019 3:35 pm

    Thank you, Sean!! I love this and ALL your blogs. You brighten each day!!!!

    Reply
  30. Linda Lou - March 19, 2019 4:00 pm

    Thank you for reminding us to use our manners! Thank you for making us feel loved and appreciated…we love and appreciate YOU! Love & hugs! Lindalou

    Reply
  31. Charaleen Wright - March 19, 2019 4:13 pm

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  32. Brenda - March 19, 2019 4:18 pm

    Thank you for reminding us all to be humble and kind.

    Reply
  33. Jan Chapman - March 19, 2019 4:44 pm

    You, Sean, deserve so much for bringing so much to others. I’m just in awe of the way your words touch my heart. You bring back warmth to my cold, cold heart. Weird family and 30 years working in chain gangs and mental health units will damage even a good heart. Thank you.

    Reply
  34. wandajb - March 19, 2019 4:56 pm

    Thank YOU, Sean, I love your words.

    Reply
  35. Shelton A. - March 19, 2019 5:34 pm

    Thank you for making my day a little better. That deserves an “Amen!”, even from an Episcopalian (I remember you liked having a beer with one of our bishops-cheers).

    Reply
  36. DiAnne Patrick - March 19, 2019 5:44 pm

    I actually HAD a pony named Silver!

    Reply
  37. Judy Broussard - March 19, 2019 6:22 pm

    Thank you Sean for giving me your wonderful view on life

    Reply
  38. Ala Red Clay Girl - March 19, 2019 6:24 pm

    Sean, you still are a delivery boy…you deliver a smile and a hug via your words everyday to all of us. So, THANK YOU!!

    Reply
  39. Susan - March 19, 2019 6:27 pm

    It amazes me how this little bit of gratitude is constantly overlooked. Thank you, Sean! Your words matter. Every single day!
    Susan

    Reply
  40. Cathy D - March 19, 2019 6:37 pm

    I try to say thank you to everyone who does something – takes my payment, brings my food, whatever – and try to look them in the eye when I thank them. I’ve thought about thanking the ladies who keep the bathrooms at Bryant-Denney Stadium clean during football games. I’ll definitely do that this year.

    Reply
  41. Norma Norton - March 19, 2019 6:56 pm

    Sure makes an Old Lady feel Good

    Reply
  42. Janet Mary Lee - March 19, 2019 7:12 pm

    Stay amazing!! We love you and give you our most loving Thanks!! Bless you and Yours!!

    Reply
  43. Susan Kennedy - March 19, 2019 8:12 pm

    Thank YOU!💙

    Reply
  44. Jack Darnell - March 19, 2019 10:15 pm

    THANK YOU!

    Reply
  45. Johnny Parker - March 19, 2019 10:43 pm

    Sincere gratitude is a good indicator of a person’s character. It’s right up there with how a person treats their dog.

    Reply
  46. Linda - March 20, 2019 12:20 am

    Thank you Sean for thanking us …. we all …. human beings …. are – I would like to believe inherently good people …..
    unfortunately circumstances make bad people …. but they are outnumbered by the rest of us who put one foot in front of the other everyday and go out and do good for the sake of doing good.
    We don’t expect thanks because that’s who we are … but it was really nice to be thanked …..😘

    Reply
  47. Karen Greatrix - March 20, 2019 5:58 am

    Thank you to your mother who did such a good job raising a son that pays attention to the little things and brings joy to so many people.

    Reply
    • Sandi in FL. - March 21, 2019 7:45 am

      I agree with Karen’s remarks and want to add how much your fan base appreciates all that you do to brighten our daily lives by sharing your writings! You are such a fine man, Sean.

      Reply
  48. Steve W. - April 16, 2019 12:02 pm

    Thank you Sean. From the bottom of my heart.

    Reply
  49. Debbie Shiflett - April 16, 2019 12:13 pm

    Did you keep the box? No matter, really, you kept what mattered! Thank you Sean for sharing your gift with us.

    Reply
  50. turtlekid - April 16, 2019 12:20 pm

    Excellent reminder of the heroes and heroines around us! I will say thank you to Beverly for being a magnificent caregiver to her family. Thank you Peggy for the word “honor” which she uses frequently. I am surrounded by dozens of loving friends, and today I will say it to them. And I am grateful for your WORDS!

    Reply
  51. Mary Ann Croley Barrett - April 16, 2019 5:21 pm

    Thank you for being part of my on-line life.

    Reply
  52. Donna - April 16, 2019 6:19 pm

    So, he gave you a pen for your birthday! A prophet on the front porch on your birthday! And you proved him right. Amazing grace, Sean💖

    Reply

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